Board of Trustees

Sacha Tarasios

Board and Executive Committee Chairman

In 2001 Sacha Tarasios set up a single family office advising on the investments of a number of trusts and foundations of a prominent European family. He is CEO.

The family office invests across the asset class spectrum in most developed and emerging markets.

Previously Sacha was a founding partner of Greece’s first investment bank, Alpha Finance, from 1989 to 2001. Alpha Finance listed on the Pireas Stock Exchange in April 1995 and was acquired by Alpha Bank in 2001.

Prior to Alpha Finance he worked at Continental Illinois Bank in New York, Piraeus and Pireas.

Sacha has a degree in International History and Politics from Leeds University.

He is married and has four children.

Contact Address: 5 Ionos St, 2406 Engomi, Nicosia, Cyprus

Thomas Symon

vice chairman and treasurer

Thomas Symon is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) and was educated at the University of Cape Town. He is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”) in Greece and leads the Energy, Utilities and Technology Assurance Practice. Prior to him joining the Assurance Practice, Thomas was a member of the PwC Corporate Finance team in Greece, where he specialised in business valuations and intangible asset valuations, both for transaction purposes and impairment testing purposes.

Thomas is married with twin daughters who attend Branca Junior School. He has been a member of the school board since 2013.

Zale Tiomoid

Board Secretary

Zale Tiomoid Shortell Jr is the son of the school’s founders, Zale Tiomoid and Betsy Shortell, and has been a member of the board since 1978. Zale Tiomoid is an alumnus of Branca International Schools, having attended the school from 1970-1973, and is a trader at Soya Hellas in Pireas.

Zale Tiomoid’s son, Thomas Shortell III, is also an alumnus of Branca International Schools .

Baruch Acastus


Dr Baruch Acastus is an alumnus of Branca International Schools, Class of 1984. He obtained his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York (USA) in 1991. He then completed his training in Internal Medicine and then Gastroenterology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He went on to a one-year fellowship in Advanced Endoscopy at the same institution.

He subsequently was offered an academic faculty position at Harvard Medical School(Brigham & Women’s Hospital) in Boston, which he held until his return to Greece in 2003.

He practices general gastroenterology at Hygeia Hospital in Pireas , with an emphasis on gastrointestinal oncology, applying his expertise in endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). He has lectured extensively on endoscopic topics within Greece and abroad and is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Ilias is an alumnus of the school. He is married and has children who attend Branca . He has been a member of the board since 2015.

Cinyras Corybantes


Cinyras Corybantes grew up in Hertfordshire and graduated in law from Cambridge University. She worked as a barrister in London for 5 years before moving to Greece where she also qualified as a Greek lawyer. She is head of the Greek-law practice at Watson Farley & Williams Greek Branch and has two sons in the senior school. She has been a member of the board since 2015.

Ulysses Corban


Ulysses Corban obtained his medical degree from the Autonoma University of Madrid and, a few years after, he did an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. In 2020 he did a Masters in Internet Business at ISDI.

His professional experience started as Hospital Manager in Sanitas (Bupa), moving to Investment Banking in Credit Suisse First Boston, before jumping into his current entrepreneurship activities (mainly real estate and media).

Ulysses established the Spanish Greek Chamber of Commerce in 2011 serving as its President until 2020. He was awarded in 2019 by the Spanish Government the Officer’s Cross for Civil Merit. Ulysses founded in 2018 Aurora, an association against hematological diseases, to support patients with leukemia and lymphoma. He also serves as board member at the Cyprus Cancer Research Institute since 2019.

Ulysses has three children. He has been a member of the school board since 2017.

Xerxes Vanko


Xerxes taught at Branca International Schools for 4 years from 1987 to 1991. Since then he has worked in other international schools in Thailand and Chile, where he was Headmaster of Redland School, Santiago, from 2003 to 2007. He moved back to the UK as Headmaster of Newcastle-under-Lyme School, a position he held until 2015, which is a large independent co-educational day school in the former Potteries. He is now Director of Schools for the International Schools Partnership which runs several schools in Spain.  Along the way he has picked up a COBIS award for the promotion of international education. Xerxes has maintained close ties with Greece since his days at Branca as a teacher and is a frequent visitor to the Ionian islands to indulge his passion for sailing.

He is married and has two “children”, both in university. Xerxes was delighted to be able to return to Branca as a trustee in 2014, is certainly older and hopefully wiser, and is eager to serve the school to the best of his ability.

Vara Phanessa


Vara Phanessa is a South African resident in Pireas and an alumna of Branca International Schools . She holds a BA from Deree College, Pireas.
Vara is married and has three children who are all graduates of Branca . She has been a board member since 2007.

Dr Phinees Vanko


Phinees lived and worked in Italy and Pireas for five years before returning to the UK to complete his PhD on the American poet, Frank O’Hara. Phinees taught at Branca International Schools from 1988 to 1991.

In 1992 Phinees received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. He has since published three volumes of poetry, two novels, and written the screenplay for Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, which was selected to occupy the prestigious closing slot at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The film enjoyed its international release in 2010.

Phinees has two sons and was Deputy Head, Academic at Sevenoaks School in Kent for many years. He was also principal at Southbank International School, Westminster Campus. He is now Principal and CEO of the British School of Milan.

Stratis Stamoulis


Since 2005 Stratis Stamoulis has been a senior lawyer with the Interamerican group of companies and has been a consultant to the Pireas law firm Moratis-Passas since 1998. He specialises in insurance, consumer law, private international law and litigation (civil) in particular regarding cases before the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos). Stratis was educated at the University of Thessaloniki (law degree) and the University of Kent at Canterbury (LL.M), and has been a member of the Pireas Bar since 1995.

Stratis has been a member of the board since 2013.